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2009 NEW CITY Number Four--MILWAUKEE HERE WE COME!

Bill
Employee
Employee

Today, Southwest gave the residents of Wisconsin something to talk about around the bubbler. 

We’re adding Milwaukee and General Mitchell International Airport to our network!!!  Starting late this year, the home of the Cunninghams, the Fonz, Laverne and Shirley, the Bucks, the Brewers, and the Packers will become the 68th airport on the Southwest Airlines route map.  (Yeah, I realize the Packers are technically based in Green Bay, but they're the professional football team for the whole state of Wisconsin, so I'll include them here!)

We know many of you in the Milwaukee area are already familiar with Southwest (low fares and GREAT Customer Service!)—but for our Customers that aren’t familiar with Milwaukee, you’ve got a treat in store for you.  Besides having a vibrant business base, Milwaukee is just a lot of fun.  Amazing food (please, PLEASE visit Mader’s for German food!), the arts (the Milwaukee Art Museum has masterpiece buildings designed by both Saarinen and Calatrava!), the home of Harley-Davidson (don’t miss their museum!), sausage, cheese, beer, sports, the lake….and of course, the people.  Good people.  Just don’t plan anything other than watching football on a Sunday afternoon when the Packers are playing. You could be very lonely….  *grin*

Milwaukee is going to be a GREAT addition to our network.  Wisconsin’s legendary work ethic, which mirrors Southwest’s exceptionally productive Culture, is going to make us a great fit in the land of the Cheesehead. 

2009 has turned into a banner year for new cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia, Boston...and now Milwaukee) at Southwest.  Four new destinations this year—the most new airports we’ve added since 1996, when we added Tampa Bay, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Providence.  But the significant difference is that in 1996 Southwest was in full growth mode in a robust economy.  Now, in 2009, we’re adding all four of these cities without adding aircraft to our fleet—instead, we’re doing it by continuing to trim unpopular flights from existing markets and redeploying our resources by adding new destinations to our network.  Once again—the enormous power of our Schedule Optimizer gives us the ability to reshuffle the “deck” and deploy our aircraft in a way that allows Southwest to expand our reach without expanding our fleet.

We’re still working out the details of our service at Milwaukee, but we’ll get back to you soon with the specifics.  Welcome to the network, Milwaukee—and from Laverne and Shrley’s theme song—“Schlemeel…Schlemozzle….Hasenfeffer Incorporated…..We’re gonna do it!!!

 

110 Comments
A_Customer_of_B
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Definitely you should have a Nashville route...just don't make YX shelve theirs 😉 I'm thrilled that you're continuing to add new cities and make international deals. This is the most exciting year growth wise that I've seen in a long time and I think its terrific. It's been fun watching this airline grow up and fill the hole that AA left. Now you just need to add ATL, CLT, MEM, RIC, HSV, and CVG.... there's still a lot of growth and business travelers to be had in and around the southeast.
Edward
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This is great news! YX had been a fantastic carrier out of MKE, but let's face it, the YX of today is not the YX we fondly remember. With only 9 - 717's left (and how long until those are also sent to Mexico?), YX is virtually all regional jets. And then there is AirTran--a fine airline if you are 5'3" tall. 30 inch seat pitch is brutal to the rest of us! (We do notice seating quality--and we vote by flying other carriers!). Welcome, Southwest. Be assured that the travelers of Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeastern Illinois will warmly receive you.
Adam9
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There are no non-stop flights between Milwaukee and Raleigh-Durham. Please fill this void!
Bill_S
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I am one of the Northern Illinoisan that will certainly take advantage of the Southwest service to Milwaukee. I live in Libertyville and drive 1/2 hour past Ohare to get to Midway. (It's still faster and cheaper than Ohare) and now can go the other way and be there in 40 minutes. I will gladly cross behind the "Cheddar Curtain" . Sweet! Milwaukee you don't know how lucky you are... I know entrepreneurs that will only focus on SW cities because of how much cheaper air fares get (SW and the other carriers). Milwaukee has always been convenient... Now it will also be less expensive. Go SWA! Soon the area between Northern Chicago and Southern Milwaukee will be one metro area. Your new billboard can say.... come fly out of Milwaugo or Chiwaukee. Has a nice ring to it!
Anonymous426
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Thank You for partially listening to my Wisconsin recommendation. I initially suggested many years ago you add Kenosha as your entry into Wisconsin. I guess MKE will have to do instead. Pending on the time of day I leave will be the deciding factor to which airport I use.
Miw_Flyer
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MKE-MILW YEAH I AM SO THRILLED I CAN NOW SEE MY FAMILY MORE OFTEN! SUCH GREAT NEWS TQ
joanie1
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I thank SW also! A direct flight, or only a 1-stop flight to Austin, TX would be great too! Yeah!!!!!!
737_GUY
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This is a great day for our metro area. For years Milwaukee's flying public has been subjected to either flying an airline with high airfares (Midwest) or having to travel on Northwest(now Delta) to one of their hubs for connections. I love the fact Southwest offers point to point nonstop service with an all 737 fleet. No regional jets here or outsourced flight crews (Midwest). Milwaukee deserves better than flying an airline with regional jets and outsourced flight crews at outrageous fares or making time consuming connections. I am glad Southwest has entered our market. With AirTran and Southwest, Milwaukee will have the travel options other cities have had for years. It was a great move by the CEO also. Not only does Southwest enter an underserved market but they will fly out of one of the most accessible airports in the country. With an Amtrak airport rail station (one of only three or four Amtrak airport stations in the country) linking dowtown Chicago and its suburbs to the airport and the possible start up of a commuter rail line linking Chicago's northern suburbs to Milwaukee and its airport as well as high speed rail from western Wisconsin and Madison to Mitchell airport, the possibilities for growth are encouraging. I wish Southwest all the success in Milwaukee. Hopefully the market potential will allow further destinations and more nonstop flights out of Milwaukee in the future. Since I live right along the flight path to Mitchell airport's main runway (19R), I will be looking forward to seeing those bright and beautiful Southwest 737 jets landing overhead come November! Welcome Southwest to Milwaukee.
Anonymous1967
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Congrats Barry and Bill on another huge win for MKE. My last flight with YX the customer service was atrocious and I work with these airlines everyday. I look forward to SWA flying at MKE. I work for a 400,000+ corporation that has its own travel service. Any time I fly I have to justify my flight options. This will make it easier. I joined your Rapid Rewards and am entering the new data in my profile today. One other thought. Midwest really lost its shorts when it dropped its Midwest Connect. I travel all over the northern tier of the Great Lakes area and anyone working in the smaller airports up there will tell you that Midwest Connect was the cash cow of YX. No one understood why they dropped them for regional jets they could not fill. Perhaps SWA will consider a commuter agreement to get more of this lost revenue using MKE again. GLA may be a good choice.
simply_1
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Excellent choice! Thank you SWA, we've waited a long time for this! Unlike Air Tran maybe we'll be able to fly direct to an airport unlike Atlanta where delays are costly! This is not just a "fare" and "fun" airline, it's truly one of the best! Glad I am a shareholder with LUV! To those of you who are loking down on this, shame on you liberal, this is what democracy is about, competition, "fare" competition!
Anonymous3089
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All I want to know is when will they be hiring for the Airport positions! I'm definitely going to apply!
Anonymous2194
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Bill, Gary said 8-10 departures a day and no flights to MDW on his presser in WI. That's similar to how you handle your So. Cal and New England airports. Write down my "guess" and then offer me a job in the Scheduling if I nail it. (I know you can't comment now, only smile.) The first 6 flights are easy. 3 daily to BWI (to reach the east), 3 daily to BNA (to reach the south and FLA). Now it gets tougher. I'll go with 3 daily to DEN and maybe 1 to LAS. Better choice than PHX; less backtracking. Coulda tossed in a MCO for grins but I'll hit that from Nashville for now. What's my grade boss?
Rich_B
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As an "A" list member you may have to add an A+ category, this is great news for a wonderful airport and nice city. I travel here on a regular basis from the Bay area and it is always a hassel, there always seems to be buses involved. This is long over due for residents of Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. Congratulations on what I'm sure will be a well traveled destination.
CaBa
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Awesome!
J_2
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Congrats Milwaukee!!! I live in Phoenix but I cheer for the Brewers, so hopefully a nonstop flight from Phoenix to Milwaukee is in the works so I can catch a game
Anonymous1526
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A nonstop between Phoenix and Milwaukee is in order. I would prefer to fly SWA over AirTran on that route anytime
Anonymous659
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Dont forget to add a flight from Milwaukee nonstop to Ft. Lauderdale (KFLL)
CMS1
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This is great news! My reasons are a bit selfish...my son is a flight attendant for SWA and my home is Milwaukee. The prospect of not having to make the drive to Midway is very exciting! I know that I'll be using my "Mom" flying privileges a lot more. I have been talking up SWA to friends and family ever since John started working there - but the 2+ hour drive to Midway really turns everyone off. He luvs his job - luvs the company he works for and can now share that with more people. November 1st can't come fast enough! Thanks SWA!
TM
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This is fantastic news. Any more competition to drive down air prices is welcome in my book. I look forward to trying WN in the near future, assuming of course that your prices beat YX and FL!!! We'll be using DING! from now on. Orlando and Phoenix are a must, please, please, please!!!
JRL
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News of forthcoming service to MKE cheers regular business travelers seeing better service attitude and expanded connectivity. Midwest Airlines long-since discarded their spacious and service-centric offerings; they've degraded into just another regional carrier of single-aisle heavy jets. Despite milking the "Home-town airline", "non-stop service" and "Best Care" propaganda, cutbacks in coverage, equipment and staffing belie their claims to exceptionality. NWA long provided superior connectivity and service across the USA and Asia compared to Midwest, but the Delta acquisition destroyed the "Can Do!" service-centric attitude exhibited by NWA staffers. When calling NWA, service reps' attitude immediatley reveals their training as Delta or Northwest. One hopes introducing additional competition at a B-tier mid-size, "collector" airport offering proximity with substantial regional traffic and great proximity to a nationally significant air traffic hub spurs all three majors at MKE to differentiate themselves with greater connectivity, improved "can-do" service attitude and attractive fares. Anything less, and the terrorists win!
Anonymous3530
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Add Philadelphia as a stop from Milwaukee. I am glad to see MKE added. Midwest has gone to all commuter jets and contractors so we welcome another big airline in. We fly alot for pleasure and need the competition.
KC2
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HOORAY! It will be nice to have airline that actually believes in service to its customers (are you listening Midwest?!?) I agree with Scotty Mac (and others) in the hopes you will bring year long service between MKE and MCO. And hopefully soon! I have a November flight to book 🙂
Florida_Cheeseh
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Congrats on choosing MKE!! It is time that Midwest (really NWA now) got some decent competition. MKE to LAS and MCO is a must! Even with stops in DEN or BNA are acceptable. I LUV SWA!!!!
Make_Phoenix_Ha
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Please have a direct flight to Phoenix, that will make my life easier and happier!!!!!
Red1
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This is awesome news. I hope a direct flight to DEN is on the list! Can't wait to see the schedule.
Gerald
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FANTASTIC! I am so glad to hear you are coming to Milwaukee. I have been waiting for such a long time! No more commuting to Chicago (which is usually longer than my SWA flight)! I can't wait to purchase my first flight out of Mitchell International!
Mac
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Yay!!!!! A direct flight to ISLIP would be wonderful!!!!
Mary_Ann_Grisha
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Hi Bill, I think I used to work with you years ago at AA....Shiryl's friend. Great to see SWA up in my "neighborhood" of RST. We just need more flights out of MSP. Hope MSP and MKE are great successes. Cheers!
Niknak
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I think it's awesome Southwest is going to offer service out of Milwaukee. Southwest is truly one of the only, if not the only, airlines that offer good fares, don't charge for all the "extras" and has good service. My family all lives in Milwaukee and there was really no reasonable way for them to fly from Milwaukee to St. Louis. I was very excited when I heard the news. Way to go Southwest
MIKE_THORN
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BE SURE TO GET FEW NON STOP SERVICE TO MILWAUKEE FROM HOUSTON SAN ANTONIO AUSTIN MANCHESTER NH DALLAS LOVE FIELD LAS VEGAS BALTIMORE TAMIPA BAY INDIANAPOLIS KANSAS CITY ST LOUIS DENVER LOS ANGELES SALT LAKE CITY PHOENIX CLEVELAND COLUMBUS OH PITTSBURGH PHILADELPHIA SAN FRANCISCO SO GOOD LUCK AND WELCOME ABOARD MILWAUKEE
Anonymous353
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Thank you. Thank you. the best news of the month. I'm saved from other useless airlines. Southwest is THE BEST. wow.
Rachel11
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PDX - PDX - PDX - Please! I have so missed you guys... Frontier and Midwest were the two options between MKE and PDX and I was less than impressed. We need you guys! Hurry!!!
Jan6
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Don't toy with me, Southwest! As a Milwaukee native and current Nashville resident please reserve a seat for me! Please tell me I never again have to fly Midwest Airlines. No more 14 row planes, no more 3 hour delays, no more waiting in line for 45 minutes (with only 2 people ahead of me) at BNA to check one bag...and pay for it...because the overhead compartment doesn't hold more than a backpack. Okay, I'll miss the cookies but heck, it's worth it! THANK YOU...and if you can't get me there without connecting at Midway, that's all right. It's still the best option in the air!
Mike_Barnbaum
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Bill: Thank you for selecting MKE as the fourth 2009 newest destination for SWA and the 68th overall. My hope one day will be the addition of EWR or for the public reading this that might not quite understand the code speak like you and I do, that is Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. As far as MKE goes, as I remember from the original edition of the famous book NUTS!, isn't this airport mentioned in one of the chapters? It's been quite awhile since I finished the book with Herb Kelleher on the cover, sporting a Southwest Airlines Tattoo on one arm. Secondly, I am also, as Brian Lusk can tell you, an advid Amtrak user. For the year 2009, I am an Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Member because I traveled fifty to ninety-nine segments last year, mainly short segments from Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay Area and/or destinations in the San Joaquin Valley like Fresno, Hanford and Merced just to name three. In my reading of the Amtrak National TimeTable for Spring/Summer 2009 I think I read that there is a General Mitchell Airport Amtrak Rail Station at MKE. In your "scouting" of the property and infrastructure here, do you recall this being present? Could Southwest and Amtrak perhaps enter into a cooperative marketing partnership if this Mitchell Airport Amtrak Rail Station does exist as I believe it does? I hope this helps Bill. Would you also be able to please pass this information onto the particular departments at Southwest Airlines? I think this is great that you have decided on MKE, and a partnership with Amtrak at MKE and possibly in the future at BUR and even OAK via either AC Transit and/or AIR BART linking Southwest at OAK with Amtrak at OAC directly across San Leandro Boulevard from the BART Station would be great partnerships too. OAC by the way is the Amtrak Station code for the Oakland Arena Coliseum Station. All of Amtrak's Station codes can be found at http://www.amtrak.com/ or at Amtrak's toll free number. I will be using Southwest Airlines in October from OAK to SLC, but in order to get there from Sacramento, I will be connecting via the Amtrak Capitol Corridor between SAC (Amtrak Sacramento) and OAC. I look forward to your reply, and thank you again for MKE and that possibility of great Amtrak Rail/Southwest Airlines Partnerships there. Sincerely, Mike Barnbaum, Rapid Rewards Member
Anonymous906
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This is great I've never had the opportunity to fly SWA and have heard such great things about it, I Look forward to finally being able to checkout all the hoopla. My first pick would be direct to Ft. Lauderdale.
blusk
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Mike Barnbaum It is great to see you on the blog! I passed the phone numbers on to Bill offline to prevent those folks from receiving a ton of unsolicited phone calls. Brian
d_stewart
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Alright! Next stop, Green Bay.
Another_TX_Chee
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As I make my way to one of the other airline counters in Terminal 2 at San Antonio International, I wistfully think how nice it would be to enjoy SouthWest and Terminal 1 again (perhaps visit the Swatch boutique). I hope to use SWA again (the drive up from Midway got old a long time ago) - provided the trip home will be affordable - and even more likely if there is a direct flight SAT/MKE.
Bill
Employee
Employee
Wow, folks--what a GREAT response to our MKE announcement! I promise we'll try to do you proud! And Mike...Brian forwarded me your numbers. Southwest hasn't, to my knowledge, ever entered into a partnership with Amtrak--however, nothing is off the table, especially these days. I'll root around and get the info to the proper people in our Marketing Department. (They're just right across the hall from me, so it shouldn't be a difficult search!) And I have to admit....I, too, am a HUGE fan of taking the train to the plane. In fact, I read with great interest last week that BART has more or less approved going forward with the people mover from OAC (see, I speak train-station-code too!) to OAK. And yes, while many cities have airport stations of their municipal transit systems, MKE is one of the few airports in the nation that have an actual AMTRAK station onsite. The info you provided, and and your obvious passion for the rail in addition to the skies, gives me a GREAT idea for a future blog post about the airports in our nation that have on-site rail service available, as well as those that have it in the works. Hmmmm.....it's going to be a rainy Memorial Day Weekend here in the DFW area....I may try and get it written and posted sooner rather than later! Thanks for your business, thanks for the information, and thanks for the idea! Have a MEMORABLE Memorial Day holiday, everybody! --Bill
Excited
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I have to say when I heard this news I dropped a jaw.....We fly back and forth from MKE every other week spending a minimum $400 (lately on Continental) The prices have become unbelievable - so this is great news for us!! Thank you Southwest!! Take over that market!!
Anonymous1412
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Welcome to Milwaukee. We're glad to have you. But please drop the Laverne and Shirley bit--it doesn't endear you to the locals. Milwaukee is a modern, beautiful city with fabulous amenities and charm. We're not stuck in Happy Days, and we're trying to lose that reputation. Good luck to SWA!
LoveFielder
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Disclaimer - I work in eCommerce and know that big paragraphs are horrible for viewing online. I hope you take the time to read my comments. They are heartfelt and true. I don't work for Southwest and haven't been engaged by them in anyway. I think you'll find many other customers that feel the same as I do. I am very excited that WN is flying to MKE. I grew up in the area and have lived in Dallas for over a decade. I frequently travel for work and leisure and have experienced many airlines. I could tell you all about other airlines great strengths and weaknesses. I would rather focus on what I see in WN as a passenger (and perhaps admirer). Southwest employees are the model of most industries. That speaks volumes because it is rare that airline cultures compete outside of their own industry. I know that people from the Great Lakes area have a strong work ethic and Southwest is a natural fit. Southwest employees are just like the people in this new market - hard-working, efficient, and determined. MKE passengers will appreciate quick check-in, almost no lost bags (and they still don't charge to check them in), and rapid exit from the aircraft. If you give them a try, you'll find that you'll be in and out much more quickly than with other airlines. Time spent is the bottom line for me but I want you to know that they don't do the "cattle call" any more. You get a specific place in line that allows you to line up just a few minutes prior to boarding - and that is far more desirable than squeezing by the many out-of-sequence passengers that board according to groups or numbers. Oh, and during your flight you can buy some special drinks for money, but mostly you get free non-alcoholic beverages and some good snacks included in the price (I don't see this in my other airline trips). Finally, when was the last time you booked a great fare and had to change your plans only to find out that you would suffer a change fee? Not the case on Southwest - it goes into a credit status for you to use on another trip. This makes booking so risk free that I've concentrated all my plans (especially business) on using WN. Did I mention the frequent flyer...well I could go on but that is great too - you fly free much faster on them.
Jay13
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MKE - Orlando. Please MKE - Manchester, NH. Please.
Anonymous3403
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For those of you with a laundy list of cities, most Southwest cities only have 5 or 6 non stop cities. I can assure you MDW will not be one of them. The point is to get the N. Chicagoans to drive or train North away from O'Hare. If I were to guess, Two East Coast cities to compete with Midwest Philadelphia and Baltimore would be my guesses with the new LaGuardia service a close third. Two Florida routes to compete with AirTran Orlando and Fort Lauderdale would be the best options. I think two Midwest routes to mini Hubs to offer service to Dallas on what they call "Direct" flights where you don't have to change planes so St. Louis and Kansas City. Denver might be in the mix to keep chipping away at Frontier. The bad news for you laundry listers of Midwest cities like Detroit and Minneapolis is the entrance of Southwest won't affect these fares. There is no "good" route, and if you look at routes like OMA-MCI, IND-STL, DET-CLE, SDF-BNA they just don't do it. Great News for the people of Milwaukee.
Rob12
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I am so happy Southwest is going to be going to Milwaukee I am actually choked up about it. You see my ex-wife and I have a 14-year-old daughter and unfortunately for my daughter, we were divorced by the time she was 6. My ex lived in San Diego, but I had to move to Tucson for a job after the dot com bust of 2001. I was able to see my daughter every other weekend, holidays and summers in no small part due to Southwest. No one could have taken better care of my daughter than the people at Southwest did on those flights for 4 years. By the time I was moving back to California, my ex had remarried and was moving back to Wisconsin where she was originally from. I have spent the last 4 years juggling flights from various airlines with awful service and having to pay a $50 service fee each way on top of inflated ticket prices for my daughter to be ignored for the whole flight. Not being wealthy, needless to say this has taken a toll on me not only financially, but has limited the amount I've gotten to see my daughter for the past few years. With Southwest now departing from Mitchell Field, I should be able to get back to once again seeing my daughter on a much more regular basis. To the good people at Southwest, nothing means more to me than that. All the thanks in the world, and I mean that quite literally, Rob
Rob5
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Hi Southwest folks, A brief suggestion. I know you have the super-Southwest jumbo route thingy to calculated your most efficient routes, etc. but for those of us in the Bay Area, if you ran SFO to MDW directs and OAK to MKE directs, that would be really cool. Thanks and looking forward to many flights on any route between the Bay Area and Milwaukee, Rob
737_GUY
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To Mike B., Milwaukee does indeed have an Amtrak airport rail station that has been in existence since January 2005 linking Chicago and its suburbs to Mitchell International and downtown Milwaukee. Additional trains continue on to Minneapolis and the west coast. There are currently seven daily trains roundtrip between Milwaukee and Chicago with plans to increase the frequency. Your idea of an Amtrak/Southwest marketing agreement make a lot of sense using two forms of transportation for the flying public. This might be the first airline/passenger rail partnership in this country although I believe many if not all European countries offer a plane to train travel option. I am overjoyed about Southwest's decision to begin service out of MKE. Keep the peanuts, nonstops, and low fares coming. November 1st will be a great day for the those travelers in our metro area as well as Madison metro region. Southwest will not only get customers from Milwaukee and the northern Chicago suburbs but residents statewide who will now be encouraged to come to Milwaukee for their travel options.
Shea
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Wow, I've been waiting for this day! Live in Texas but all my family is back in WI so this will be wonderful. Thus, I must echo the calls for an Austin and/or San Antonio flight, or at least connections. Can't wait...maybe flying home for Thanksgiving and Christmas will finally not cost me an arm and a leg! 🙂
cdbingsp
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Who's next?!?!?! Please tell me GSP!!! With the North American HQs of BMW, Michelin, Bosch, 3 major universities (and ton of smaller colleges), the influx of industry in the last 10 years, and the short drive from Charlotte (1.5 hrs), Atlanta (2 hrs), Asheville (1 hr), and Columbia (2 hrs)...it would be a smashing hit!!! I know for a fact every person in my office would LUV to fly Southwest...I would EVERY time! GSP GSP GSP GSP GSP!!!!!
Anonymous681
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Brad, The one that said Southwest will never succeed in MKE. Either your ignorant or not well infomed as a flyer. I will give you a run down as how wrong you are. Every market that Southwest has entered in their 33 years of doing business. The Transportation Department has dubbed the Southwest Effect because of the amount of people the airline carries and how successful they do in every market. Give them a try. you might like hanging with all the low fare low lifes that like to have fun. Maybe uncork your you know what so that you can relax and realize that the people that fly on Southwest are no different than you.